Monday, May 20, 1946

The Charlotte News

Monday, May 20, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen's unions reported progress being made toward resolution of the strike, postponed until the following Thursday. The Locomotive Engineers stated the belief that the dispute would be resolved before the deadline. The President had ordered the Office of Defense Transportation to take over operation of the railroads the previous Friday. Most rail service was still running normally.

An unnamed Government official predicted Government seizure of the coal mines should the coal strike not be resolved prior to the May 25 cessation of the two-week truce called by John L. Lewis. It appeared that negotiations had hopelessly broken down and that both sides deemed further attempts futile. The takeover, he said, probably would not occur until the railroad strike was resolved.

President Truman delivered a written message to the opening session of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization in Washington, stating that the weeks before the first harvest in Europe would be especially critical in dealing with starvation abroad. Former President Hoover addressed the meeting, asking for creation of an international food organization by September 1, which would organize food production and distribution and take over the tasks of the UNRRA, that it should supply food to the world "with all speed possible".

Let us hope it would be accomplished with more speed than would be school desegregation, set to be accomplished from 1955 at roughly the same rate of speed.

But, in the end, they were roughly about equal in fulfillment.

OPA announced that the price of cars would be boosted again, this time by five percent or about $60 per vehicle, to compensate for an increase of $5 per ton in steel prices, necessitated by the wage hike granted to resolve the steel strike, resulting in higher cost of parts, the ceilings on most of which had been removed. Previous price hikes of from $1 to $100 had been announced in March and April to make up for increased wages out of the strike of autoworkers. The entire increase in price would be passed on to the consumer.

The two price increases had undermined OPA's original prediction in 1945 that new cars would cost no more than in 1942, when production had ceased in February of that year for the duration of the war.

General Marshall, Ambassador to China, rebuked both the Communists and the Government for spreading propaganda which only tended to inflame the situation. The remarks came following the capture by the Government of Szepingkai in Manchuria. The Government reported that 26,000 Communist troops were attacking along a 200-mile front in Jehol Province near Peipiao, and, after capturing that location, were driving toward Chaoyang, Pingchuan, Linyuan, and Chinling. The truce headquarters of the peace mission dispatched a team to the area.

Harold Ickes, in his column, tells of right-wing infiltration into the non-governmental National Reclamation Association which had, since its founding at the turn of the century, been dedicated to furtherance of the Government reclamation program, including irrigation of arable lands, production of cheap electric power to pump the water, and establishment of a 160-acre limit for any individual's ownership of reclaimed land.

The NRA in conjunction with the Bureau of Reclamation had developed the Salt River Valley in Arizona and the Yakima Valley in Washington State, both of which had been desert wastes prior to the reclamation efforts.

Opposed to these efforts were the private power companies and the major landowners, the former opposed to creation of competitively cheap electricity by the Government, and the latter to the limitation on parcel ownership, even though happy to receive Government irrigation of their lands, increasing the value.

Utility employees had joined the NRA in droves and become an active voice within the organization, labeling as "communistic" the Government efforts at producing cheap power and limiting the ownership of reclaimed lands, turning the once progressive organization into a lobbying group against Government anent two of the three goals of reclamation.

Hal Boyle, still in Berlin, tells of Hitler fast becoming a legend among Gemans in the mold of Siegfried or Barbarossa. The Italians hated Mussolini in death, but the Germans did not revile Hitler, treated him instead as a fallen hero in the tradition of Teuton heroes fallen in glorious battle. The same was true even among those who condemend the Nazi excesses. They viewed him as a sincere idealist who did not know of the barbarities performed in his name.

Germans generally agreed that it was a good thing that he had died "in battle" and not been forced to stand trial before the war crimes tribunal to cause further humiliation to the Fatherland.

Most believed him dead, though thousands in the lower classes insisted that he was still alive.

A series of excerpts begins from I Chose Freedom, by Victor Kravchenko, a Soviet defector to the United States who had originally come as part of a purchasing mission and decided two years earlier to stay. Born in 1906, he was eleven years old at the start of the Russian Revolution, saw therefore both Leninist and Stalinist Russia before his defection.

In the first piece, he tells of the point of his actual defection in Washington on a Saturday night, leaving the house of the American family with whom he had been staying, telling them that he was going out of town for a week, and taking a cab to Union Station. He had feigned sickness while at work so that suspicions would not be aroused immediately by his absence.

In 1949, Mr. Kravchenko would initiate a libel suit against a French Communist weekly publication, Les Lettres Francaises, a lawsuit he would win but with an award ultimately only of nominal damages of one dollar.

He would die in 1966 in New York by a gunshot wound to his head. Labeled a suicide, there was suspicion at the time that a suicide note had been forged by the KGB and that he was the victim of murder. The FBI investigated and found, however, that the suicide note was in his handwriting.

The Socialist candidate for the presidency, Norman Thomas, was in Charlotte to deliver a commencement address at Johnson C. Smith University. During an interview with News correspondent Tom Fesperman, he stated that there would be chaotic conditions ahead unless government turned to Democratic Socialism. He predicted continued strikes as long as private profits were the motivating force behind management, that expected free enterprise, even though only in a quasi-form, was crippling the prospects for labor-management peace. He also felt that all forms of imperialism had to be eliminated, starting with that of Russia. He believed that control of the atomic bomb ought be by a civilian commission and that sharing of the secret could take place with other nations once safeguards for its use were in place.

Moscow radio reported that a Russian engineer had developed tiny ball bearings which could be used in watches instead of jewels to produce the movement.

In Dunkirk, N.Y., a Navy seaman expecting a tax refund of $23, received over half a million, $555,555.55. He wanted to keep the check and frame it.

Too bad it wasn't to the 9's.

Burke Davis discusses the Mecklenburg Resolves of May 20, 1775 on the first page of the second section of the newspaper.

On the editorial page, "There's No Time for Debate" finds the statement by former President Hoover the previous week, urgently appealing for support of the American people to provide the necessary food abroad to avert disaster, to be a great service, even if he had never been known for his eloquence and proved no exception to this reputation in the most recent effort.

Though he did not urge rationing, it would come, says the piece, unless the steps he outlined were met by the country voluntarily. The result of not doing so would be chaos and revolution abroad.

"Can't We Recognize a Monopoly?" recommends comprehensive legislation to end the collective bargaining monopolies bringing about strikes which crippled the country. The issue was not settlement on an ad hoc basis of each seprate strike but rather putting a halt to the practices that enabled them to occur in such vital areas of the nation's economy, to prevent management from refusing to enter arbitration to settle legitimate disputes. Legislation should be aimed at facilitating agreement by restricting both unions and management.

The coal strike had cut coal production 96 percent and its most important victims were the unorganized American people. Neither nationalization of such industries nor abrogation of the right of collective bargaining and strike provided the answers.

It suggests anti-trust laws as weapons which could be used presently against such large-scale, crippling strikes.

That suggestion, however, would have only led to crippling legal challenges to the applicability of the Sherman Act to unions, specifically barred by the Clayton and Norris-La Guardia Acts, not resolution.

"The Klan Presents Its Pedigree" discusses the pronouncement of Klan Grand Dragon Dr. Samuel Green of Atlanta, that the Klan was not a collection of riffraff, that each member had to prove his character before being allowed into the exclusive organization, that it was comprised of upstanding men.

If the Grand Dragon's claims were true, it suggests, the rebirth of the Klan could be longer and stronger than anticipated. He had shown to the press letters pouring in by the hundreds from citizens of hundreds of Southern communities wanting, in the wake of the cross-burning on Stone Mountain, to establish local chapters.

The piece suggests that if the Klan were as strong as the Grand Dragon suggested, then it had to be fought immediately with every weapon available. For it hearkened back to a time of the lynch law and vigilante justice, signifying a lack of progress, that the New South was not so new after all.

A piece from the Louisville Courier-Journal, titled "How to Fix John L. Lewis", starts with a statement of principle contained in the Maryland Declaration of 1776 abhorring monopolies, suggesting that Mr. Lewis was exercising monopolistic power over the coal industry.

Having been on the rocks as a labor leader in 1933, he owed the growth of UMW to the National Recovery Act and the National Labor Relations Act, which the newspaper had always supported. But Mr. Lewis had consistently abused his power under the latter act. It was time, it offers, for comprehensive legislation to curb such union monopoly.

Drew Pearson discusses the secrecy surrounding the just concluded Paris foreign ministers conference. Secretary Byrnes and V. M. Molotov had met privately to try to work out their differences, without Senators Arthur Vandenburg of Michigan and Tom Connally of Texas in tow. Commissar Molotov had indicated Russian willingness to make some concessions if the United States would make concessions in return, namely on the issue of Trieste going to Yugoslavia in exchange for Russia giving up its demands on the Italian colony of Tripolitania in North Africa. He also indicated Russian willingness to lower its demand for Italian reparations from 300 to 100 million dollars.

Secretary Byrnes expressed interest in the latter compromise but balked at the former, on ceding Trieste to Yugoslavia. He proposed U.N. determination of the Italian-Yugoslav boundary and a plebiscite by the people of Trieste to determine whether they wished to live under the control of Italy or Yugoslavia. The Russians were angered by this proposal and charged that America had embarked on a new phase of imperialism, trying to obtain bases in Iceland, France, Portugal, Iran, Turkey, and China. Secretary Byrnes bristled at the suggestion.

Commissar Molotov cabled Moscow with a recommendation that it yield on Trieste, resulting in Russia taking a modified view of the situation by the end of the conference. But Britain and France had developed reservations of their own, favoring internationalizing of Trieste. It was this final failure of agreement which led to failure of the conference.

Marquis Childs discusses the legislative agenda set forth for the summer by Senate Majority Leader Alben Barkley, including extension of the draft, price control, the future of the armed services, and labor legislation. These matters were expected to take the Senate through the midsummer recess for the campaigns.

The agenda significantly omitted any mention of atomic energy legislation. If the Senate were to fail to act in this vital area, the bill reported unanimously out of the Atomic Energy Committee would die and it would be assumed that military control of atomic energy for military purposes would be the rule.

Maj. General Leslie Groves recently stated that because of the failure of the Congress to act on atomic energy, he was setting forth policies which would carry into the future. The General had expressed skepticism regarding international control but had signed the Lilienthal report of Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson, which set forth such a proposal. General Groves had also sought relief from the responsibility of making the decisions he was forced to make with regard to secrecy and continued production of atomic bombs.

The Bikini atomic test scheduled for July fell into the pattern of military control of atomic energy.

Mr. Childs urges the Senate not to ignore the legislation on atomic energy already approved in committee.

Samuel Grafton discusses the general agreement of both political parties in Congress on the three major foreign policy issues which had proved failures during the previous year: the atomic bomb, world famine, and relations with the Russians. Neither side could claim to have put forth any alterative formula for dealing with these major issues and neither could so claim during the election cycle.

There was no national atomic energy policy. Bernard Baruch was chairman of the U.N. Atomic Energy Commission and had named several big business people to the commission, none of whom knew anything about atomic energy.

President Truman worked together with former President Hoover on world famine, while Senator Arthur Vandenburg of Michigan worked with Secretary of State Byrnes on relations with Russia.

The uniformity suggested a loss of meaningful controversy between the parties, as in the Congressional coalition which had crippled or slowed domestic reconversion policy. The coalitions represented unity leading to failure, not success.

Americans should be looking, he urges, for new sources of inspiration, outside the coalitions of the two major political parties.

A letter from a man who had been in a Veterans' Administration hospital near Pittsburgh tells of his having come in contact with several veterans who had worked in coal mines and steel mills, reporting of being worn out by this strenuous and, insofar as the coal mines, extremely hazardous work. No wage, he opines, was too high for the labor.

He offers that the guaranteed wage worked out by Hormel Meat Packing Co., in place for several years, was a way to be rid of the dictatorial control over UMW had by John L. Lewis.

A letter writer expresses his desire to see Representative Sam Ervin, who had vowed not to run for re-election when appointed to fill out the term of his deceased brother Joe, elected anyway as a write-in candidate, urges others to vote for him in that manner.

A letter seconds the motion of the letter of May 16 which favored letting the nations of Europe and Asia starve so that they could not again suck America into a war.

The editors respond: "Is everybody ready for round 3?"

A letter from Inez Flow begins with the editors' last reply to her objections regarding the charge that she had misquoted the judge of Durham County anent liquor control by not including the entire quote, claiming that she had not divided the sentence as it had already been divided by Burke Davis, to which the editors had responded: "How's this?"

She replies: "It's fine, thank you. The decapitation was genuinely funny, and produced a good, lasting laughórare in these days."

She adds that she was appeased in her objection to the heading above her previous letter, "though obscured". She assures that she would continue reading her favorite newspaper, including the personal anecdotes of Associate Editor Harry Ashmore regarding his memories of V-E Day, as he had put forth on May 8.

The editors reply that the lost headline above her previous letter was purely accidental, "but if it tickled our valued correspondent, it's a joke."

A letter from the secretary of the PTA at Midwood School thanks the newspaper for the publicity given the school and the PTA during the school year.

A letter asks where to find a list of books compiled as sound advice prior to marriage, the existence of which was stated by Lawrence Gould in his column, "Mirror of Your Mind", on May 16. The editors respond with the address of the American Library Association.


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